Before 1992, the world had not really considered a “fair trade” approach. Before this, the crops trade operated with very different morals and ethics compared to today. In short, the fair trade process was an innovation in helping financially support the livelihood of producers of commodities such as sugar, flowers, cocoa, and several others that work in less economically developed countries.
The issue of injustice in conventional trade has been an issue in society for centuries, and the fair trade process has every intention to demolish these unethical and exploitative practices. Put simply, fair trade products mean that for every item sold, producers are paid a fair price for their work. Fair trade practices can be found among a range of products too, including biscuits, organic coffee, clothing, and more.
The trading of food items is essential for the financial and social wellbeing of developing countries in particular. The warm, tropical climates of these countries are ideal for growing fruits that other places don’t have the ability to produce.
Speaking of climate, for continents such as South America, the fair trade of fruit not only helps support the producers of such products but the wildlife that South America includes.
Here, we discuss the various ways that fair trade fruit helps save South America’s invaluable wildlife.
Since the aim of fair trade products is to provide producers with a fair wage for their work, it is vital that work is done to help protect the environment and wildlife they are operating in. One way is through reforestation. For those familiar with deforestation, then reforestation is self-explanatory. This is the process of replanting an area with trees that no longer exists as a result of deforestation due to the plantation of fruit.
There are many ways that fair trade products help support the process of reforestation. Fair trade projects can choose to invest their premium into reforestation projects. These projects help fund the replanting of trees to help prevent soil erosion, improve biodiversity, store carbon dioxide, and offer a new habitat for indigenous wildlife. Not only that, but most fair trade coordinators discourages the use of pesticides and insecticides. It also prohibits the use of other harmful agrochemicals that can damage the environment and ultimately, the wildlife that lives within it.
The tactical plantation of fruit
Fair trade products also place emphasis on the importance of planting crops such as fruit together. By being selective about where seeds and trees are planted, this can dramatically impact the level of fruit that is yielded. Not only does this benefit the income of family farms in South America, but it also helps provide a better habitat for wildlife too. Research suggests that planting a variety of crops next to each other creates a more stable and resilient habitat for wildlife to live in. This helps to limit the effect that climate change can have on them.
In addition to the effects that climate change and weather patterns can have on wildlife and the production of crops, planting fruits next to each other can help act as a defence against extreme conditions. For example, by placing the likes of banana trees next to each other, they act as shade for one another. Not only that, when the leaves fall, they are a form of natural compost, helping keep the ground rich in nutrients that aid healthy plant growth.
Educating communities on the climate emergency
After organic banana producers’ yields were drastically effected by what was referred to as the ‘red rust thrips’ outbreak back in 2013 that was suspected to be due to a climate crisis, fair trade products recognised the importance of educating fruit farmers on how to prepare for these events. To help ensure that the likes of South America don’t experience a similar situation to this, fair trade products focus on educating farmers on how to try and prevent a similar climate crisis from happening. Education consists of offering advice on how to use more environmentally friendly practices that encourage more biodiversity. They teach farmers how to develop nutrient-rich soils that encourage wildlife. Ultimately, wildlife will act as a natural defence for fruit growth against pests and diseases.
The issues surrounding the environment and supporting the wildlife within it is a topic discussed now more than what it has ever been. For places such as South America where their tropical climate is home to supplying exotic fruits such as lychees, carambolas, and passion fruits to the rest of the world, highlighting the importance of saving their wildlife cannot be stressed enough. Although there is still plenty of work left to be done, fair trade products continue to trade fruit that supports this cause.